Right now I’m listening to the morning birds greeting the sun, the tired sounds of little voices as they wipe sleep out of their eyes, and (perhaps most importantly) the bubbling of the water as I boil it for my first cup of coffee.
We’ve been camping this week at Muskoka Bible Center, enjoying the great outdoors along with a healthy dose of teaching from God’s Word.
You’ve heard me talk about MBC before, and you may even know it yourself. Perhaps as Muskoka Baptist Conference (back in the day), or by it’s current name now. The name may have changed, but the experience is always the same.
The mission statement of MBC is this: “… to exalt Jesus Christ by renewing, connecting and equipping the family of God in the splendour of His creation.” And that’s just what we’ve been experiencing.
I wonder if you can relate: on Sunday mornings at home, we head out early to set up our portable church and get ready for the service. My older kids help with setting up or with watching younger kids while I’m doing what needs to be done. During the service, I have a few duties that mean popping in and out, and I’m often tapped on the shoulder to put out a fire or answer a question. After the service, I pack up a few items and then head to count the offering. Sunday mornings at home are not laid back at all. Quite often we crash as soon as we eat lunch, exhausted from the morning.
We used to schedule a week at MBC so that it was 8 days long, covering two Sundays, not just one, for this very reason: we’d get to skip two weeks of church at home. Instead, we would be fed and ministered to while we sat in one place.
It’s like that this time around too.
MBC has two chapel sessions each day, except for the weekends, when the schedule is a bit different. This week, the theme is Eschatology, the study of end times prophecy in the Bible, and we’re excited to hear every word of each session. They’ve even added extra sessions this week!
At the same time, there are programs running for all of the children we have with us this week, from 15 months up to 16 years old. Our older two (both teens) are coming with us to chapel to hear the eschatolgy talks. But the younger three are really enjoying their time in their respective programs … and we’re enjoying dropping them off there. If there’s one thing I love about MBC, it’s that I didn’t have to recruit or train any of the Children’s Ministries staff, and I don’t need to find replacements for them when they’re away. I can forget my ministry roles at home, and drop my children off worry-free, and believe me, that’s a huge deal!
The staff are well-trained and always greet you with a smile on their face. And they even manage to have a smile on their faces at pick-up time too!
But that worry-free approach to attending the teaching of God’s Word is what makes this a Renewing type of experience for me. I’m able to find a seat, sit down, and not move for the following hour. I’m able to participate fully in the times of worship without worrying about whether there are enough Sunday School teachers, or whether my child is colouring on the floor. I’m able to really listen during the teachings, without thoughts of how the rest of the day will pan out swirling through my head. It really is a chance to take in what is being shared from God’s Word, process it, and consider it fully.
My daughter just brought me a “cool stick”. She found it walking back from the campground bathrooms. And there have been many other times when we’ve been able to connect as a family while we’ve been here.
We’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and extended family that we didn’t know would be here, and we’ve had a chance to make new friends. In fact, we discovered that our tent site neighbours live 15 minutes away from us and work in our our town! We’ve even had a chance to enjoy the company of current friends, relax by the fire and spend time at the beach with them.
MBC is all about connecting with God and with others. There’s very little opportunity to isolate yourself, and even if you’re catching up on the news by yourself while watching the kids at the playground, chances are another mom or grandmother will introduce herself and you’ll quickly become immersed in getting to know your new-found friend.
When we turn the corner onto MBC grounds, the kids look up from their devices, take off their headphones and immediately start asking “Are we at MBC? Are we here?” with a sense of anticipation in their voices.
It’s like driving into another world where everything operates a little bit differently, and it can almost feel like you’re in a bubble while you’re there. You forget what day it is and what’s going on in the world.
But as much as MBC is all about coming away from the world and resting awhile, it’s also about preparing you to go back into your everyday life, equipped with practical, Biblical teachings that will enable you grow closer to God and to serve and love others more. It’s about deepening your walk with Christ and giving you the tools to share your faith with your friends and coworkers.
I love that while spending a week at MBC is like a vacation from the world, it’s not a vacation from God. It’s a vacation with Him.
If you’re looking for a place to spend some time, whether it’s a week in accommodations, or a weekend, week or several weeks in a tent or trailer, consider Muskoka Bible Center! You can visit their website at www.MuskokaBibleCenter.com.
*I received compensation for this post, but as always, my opinions are totally my own!*